Welcome to my first blog in quite a long time… think Myspace LOL! It’s been a while since I have done something like this, and I’m very excited and nervous to put my feelings to paper once again.
Today is Mother’s Day, and I wanted to personally wish my mom, sister and sister-in-law, along with all those other amazing women out there that take on the never-ending task of raising a family, a very Happy Mother’s Day. I also want to take a moment to remember all the moms that we have lost along the way, in particular Olga and Claire, both of whom touched my life in a deep way, and whom I miss.
Now, where to begin…
Next week in Central Park, there will be an event called AIDS Walk New York. This will be the 30th anniversary of this wonderful event, and it is something I have been involved with for several years, in different capacities. This year will be a little different for me though.
Originally, I just donated money. Seemed simple… send a check and not my problem anymore. Then I started dating someone who actually did the walk. When he asked me to walk with him, I agreed, and I got to see where some of the efforts went, and it made me actually feel good to do my own little part.
For the first time since I started walking, this year I’m doing it as a single person. It makes me very anxious to think about what I’m walking into, so I question why I’m going to do it. Why not just donate money or raise money and be done with it?
A few months ago, after quite a while of not feeling like myself, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the Thyroid, making it underactive. For those not in the know, the Thyroid controls a lot of what goes on in your body, including metabolism, energy, moods, alertness and memory and effects many parts of everyday life (I will definitely, at a later point, do a blog about my personal experience through this time). One of the things about this disease is that it is constantly changing, and with time and without constant treatment, can become severe and possibly bring on other autoimmune diseases or conditions that can be life threatening. Over the last two months, I have learned this has been an untreated condition I have had since childhood.
I have been scared half outta my mind since this diagnosis because it never seems to ease up, and my greatest fear regarding it has become somewhat of a reality: the response from the people around me. I have had friends and family distance themselves, others thinking my illness makes me weak, mentally unstable or easier to take advantage of, my office feeling that they have the right to discuss my “mental status,” and even my ex using things out of my control (due to this illness) as reasons why we don’t work. It made me realize that there is a fear for the unknown and uncontrollable, and a lack of education and compassion on the topic of Hypothyroidism.
And then, I got to thinking. If you look at the history of the epidemic of HIV and AIDS, there has also been a lot of discrimination and hatred due to a lack of education and fear. People were ostracized and condemned for being positive. Does HIV make someone less human or less worthy of love and compassion? Should all the people with HIV or AIDS just be sent away to some remote island, or killed off in some Holocaust-style manner?
I have a couple of friends who are positive, and growing up, my family (in particular, my mother) was very close to one of the first people to die due to complication from AIDS (much like with Hashimoto, AIDS lowers your immunity and makes you more susceptible to other diseases that can kill you). In no way do I want to make it that my struggle these days is the same as theirs, just that I understand the feeling of abandonment and isolation that they feel and felt over the years.
So why am I walking this year? Because I want those people dealing with HIV and AIDS to know they are not alone. I want them to know that HIV and AIDS doesn’t make anyone less of a person or undateable or not worthy. I don’t want anyone to feel the way that I have felt these last few weeks.
To donate to the AIDS Walk: https://ny.aidswalk.net/baztard28